The Notebook

  • Directors: Nick Cassavetes
  • Producers: Toby Emmerich, Mark Johnson
  • Writers: Novel, Nicholas Sparks, Adaptation, Jan Sardi, Screenplay, Jeremy Leven
  • Genres: Drama, Romance
  • Actors: James Garner, Gena Rowlands, Ryan Gosling, Rachel McAdams

In a modern-day nursing home, an elderly man named Duke (James Garner) begins to read a love story from his notebook to a female fellow patient (Gena Rowlands).

The story begins in 1940. At a carnival in Seabrook Island, South Carolina, local country boy Noah Calhoun (Ryan Gosling) sees seventeen-year-old heiress Allie Hamilton (Rachel McAdams) for the first time and is immediately smitten. She continuously refuses his persistent advances until their well-meaning friends lure them together; they then get to know each other on a midnight walk through empty Seabrook.

Noah and Allie spend an idyllic summer together. One night, a week before Allie is to leave town, she and Noah go up to an abandoned house called the Windsor Plantation. Noah tells her that he hopes to buy the house, and Allie makes him promise that the house will be white, with blue shutters, a wrap-around porch, and a room that overlooks the creek so she can paint. They intend to make love for the first time, but Allie, who is nervous, keeps interrupting and asks Noah to talk her through it. They are then interrupted by Noah’s friend Fin (Kevin Connolly) with the news that Allie’s parents have the police out looking for her. When Allie returns home, her disapproving mother forbids her from seeing Noah again, calling him “trash” and saying he is not right for her because he is poor. Outside, Allie fights with Noah, who believes they are right and that he is not good enough for her, and the two decide to break up. Allie immediately regrets the decision but Noah drives away. The next morning, Allie’s mother reveals that they are going home right away. Allie frantically tries to find Noah, but when she goes to the lumber yard Fin tells her he is out making a delivery. She begs Fin to tell Noah that she loves him and is sorry for everything, and Fin, who stayed up all nigth with the miserable Noah, reluctantly agrees. Therefore, Allie is forced to leave without saying good-bye. Noah, devastated by his separation from Allie, writes her one letter a day for a year, only to get no reply as Allie’s mother keeps the letters from her. Noah and Allie have no choice but to move on with their lives. Allie continues to attend Sarah Lawrence College, while Noah and Fin enlist to fight in World War II. Fin is killed in battle.

Duke’s elderly companion suddenly realizes that she herself is Allie. She remembers her past. She and Noah/Duke joyfully spend a brief intimate moment together; after originally finding out about her impending illness, she had herself written their story in the notebook with the instructions for Noah to “Read this to me, and I’ll come back to you.” But soon Allie relapses, losing her memories of Noah yet again. She panics, and has to be sedated by the attending physician. This proves to be too difficult for Noah to watch and he breaks down. The next morning, Noah is found unconscious in bed and he is rushed to the hospital; he later returns to the nursing home’s intensive care ward. He goes to Allie’s room later that night, and Allie remembers again. She asks him if he thinks their love can make miracles, and he says that miracles are what bring her back to him every time. She then asks him if he thinks their love can take them away together, and he replies, “I think our love can do anything we want it to.” The next morning, a nurse finds them in bed together, having both died in their sleep, holding each other’s hands.

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